Project Coyote: Scientific analysis of killing contests

This is a superb letter authored by 36 leading scientists, most of whom hold PhD degrees, asking for a prohibition on wildlife killing contests. Their open remarks summarizes the issue very well: “The most general reason to prohibit WKC is that hunters and wildlife managers believe, as a community, that killing an animal without an adequate reason is unjustified and unsportsmanlike. Killing an animal for a price or trophy constitutes killing without an adequate reason. Insomuch as WKC are primarily motivated by killing for a price or trophy, they are wrong.”

Click Project Coyote Coyote Killing Scientist letter for the entire letter.

Written in feathers: failure to safe our sage grouse

Idaho Mountain Express
January 5, 2015

The future of the West may be written in feathers.

When Congress and President Barack Obama approved the 2015 omnibus funding bill in the year-end rush to keep the federal government open, they may have issued the death warrant for the greater sage grouse.

A rider in the bill, which had absolutely nothing to do with keeping the government running and everything to do with lawmakers paying back influential donors and constituents, prevents the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service from issuing rules to place sage grouse on the endangered species list. The agency was facing a court-ordered deadline of September 2015 to decide if the grouse would be placed on the endangered species list.

Some people say the rider is just a delay to make sure federal agencies have time to finish a recovery plan. We doubt it.

Does anyone besides a few benighted environmentalists care about a plump, puff-breasted bird that depends on Idaho’s sagebrush steppes to survive? Moreover, why should anyone care given that the declining numbers of birds are simply getting in the way of oil and gas drilling, grazing, wind and solar power generation projects and airports? They are costing a lot of money to study and driving a lot of politicians crazy with their neediness and desire for protective sage canopies for themselves and their chicks, food and mating grounds where they can flirt, posture, dance and belt out a booming bass line in nature’s reproductive chorus.

Sage grouse, a true native of the West, can’t hop a jet for Washington, D.C., can’t make anyone rich, can’t buy lobbyists or politicians, and can’t deliver up domestic oil or gas to put pressure on oil-producing nations of the Middle East. They can’t bring the romance of West to bear on urban lawmakers by appearing in sweat-stained cowboy hats and roper boots.

What they can do is tell us where our common habitat is headed and perhaps foretell our own future if things don’t change. But the sage grouse can only tell us this if we look closely and listen. This will be helpful only if we act intelligently, boldly and soon to protect what sustains those with feathers and those without.

Click here for the source article.

North American Wildlife Model

Our friend, Steve, raises some important questions about who and what is honored in the North American Wildlife Conservation Model designed for all wildlife and for all people. Take note!

While we appreciate what true sportsman did for wildlife conservation, significant excise tax from guns and ammo also comes from many guns purchased for personal protection such as handguns, or target shooting. In contrast, there is no excise tax on traps.

“The North American Wildlife Conservation Model

The North American Wildlife Conservation Model is the only one of its kind in the world. In the mid-1800’s hunters and anglers realized they needed to set limits in order to protect rapidly disappearing wildlife, and assume responsibility for managing wild habitats. Hunters and anglers were among the first to crusade for wildlife protection and remain some of today’s most important conservation leaders.

As early settlers made their way West, North America’s wildlife populations diminished due to market-hunting and habitat loss. Many species were on the brink of extinction. Elk, bison, bighorn sheep, black bears—even whitetail deer—had all but disappeared across the country. Hunters and anglers realized they needed to set limits in order to protect what they loved and assume responsibility for the stewardship of our natural resources.
Hunters like Theodore Roosevelt and George Bird Grinnell rallied fellow sportsmen. They pushed for hunting regulations and established conservation groups to protect habitat.

Basic Principles
Their efforts are the backbone of the North American Wildlife Conservation Model. The model has two basic principles – that our fish and wildlife belong to all Americans, and that they need to be managed in a way that their populations will be sustained forever.
The principles of the North American Wildlife Conservation Model are explained more fully through a set of guidelines known as the Seven Sisters for Conservation.

Sister #1 – Wildlife is Held in the Public Trust
In North American, natural resources and wildlife on public lands are managed by government agencies to ensure that current and future generations always have wildlife and wild places to enjoy.
Sister #2 – Prohibition on Commerce of Dead Wildlife
Commercial hunting and the sale of wildlife is prohibited to ensure the sustainability of wildlife populations.
Sister #3 – Democratic Rule of Law
Hunting and fishing laws are created through the public process where everyone has the opportunity and responsibility to develop systems of wildlife conservation and use.
Sister #4 – Hunting Opportunity for All
Every citizen has an opportunity, under the law, to hunt and fish in the United States and Canada.
Sister #5 – Non-Frivolous Use
In North America, individuals may legally kill certain wild animals under strict guidelines for food and fur, self-defense and property protection. Laws restrict against the casual killing of wildlife merely for antlers, horns or feathers.
Sister #6 – International Resources
Wildlife and fish migrate freely across boundaries between states, provinces and countries. Working together, the United States and Canada jointly coordinate wildlife and habitat management strategies. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 demonstrates this cooperation between countries to protect wildlife. The Act made it illegal to capture or kill migratory birds, except as allowed by specific hunting regulations.
Sister #7 – Scientific Management
Sound science is essential to managing and sustaining North America’s wildlife and habitats.

Wildlife Funding
Hunters also recognized the need for a significant and sustainable source of funding for wildlife stewardship. In 1937, sportsmen successfully lobbied Congress to pass the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act, which put an excise tax on the sale of all sporting arms and ammunition. This was followed in 1950 by the Dingell-Johnson Act, which placed a similar tax on fishing equipment. Today, every time you buy hunting and fishing gear, you contribute to this fund. It generates upwards of 700 million dollars every year. This money has been used far and wide to conserve America’s key wildlife habitat. When you combine funding from the excise tax with the state license and tag sales sportsmen pay each year, it constitutes the majority of funding for wildlife in North America. It’s not just funding for huntable wildlife, but for ALL wildlife.
( Source: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation)